Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.
Noel Edmonds being more Alan Partridge than Alan Partridge is remarkable TV. Stay tuned for the closing shot as Keith ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin’s soul departs.
Zach Margolin says he has “got this year’s Christmas advert figured out.” He’s videoed his grandmother Josie Singer counting down the days til Christmas. Covid-19 has left her alone. She wants to see her loved ones.
It’s a fun advert with a neat take on the end that makes us all feel warm and fuzzy.
And it reminds us of that scene in Friday Night Dinner, Robert Popper’s hit TV show about a Jewish family who, like Josie, live in north west London. (Full disclosure: me too.) Do Jews celebrate Christmas? Is that a Christmas Tree or a Channukah Bush in the lounge? Isn’t Christmas, you know, just nice?
The chef was on the BBC News show to talk bout Covid-19 and the Government’s ham-fisted, half-arsed attempts to contain it and let us get on with our lives. Behind him a chart of “British Tits” – Great Tits, Blue Tits, Boris Johnson and more…
Spotter: Mike Harris
On the Akaal Channel – 770 on your Sky Remote – the Breakfast Show features a truly excellent green screen. No room for the Empire State Building but we think the Spanish Steps are just behind Birmingham’s Selfridges department store.
Spotter: Robert Popper
In 1999 Bill Morgan, 37, suffered a heart attack and was pronounced clinically dead. Having narrowly survived a car crash, Bill was given emergency drugs which triggered an extreme allergic reaction causing his heart to stop. Medics pronounced him clinically dead. But after 14 minutes of inaction, Bill’s heart restarted. But he was now in a coma. Twelve days later Bill came round. The better news was that everything was working properly. He’d made an incredible recovery. And then luck struck. Bill won a car on the the lottery. Great news.
Local TV got wind of Bill’s story and invited to him to relive the moment when he bought the ticket and won the car. So off Bill went to the shop with the TV crew in tow. He’d show them how he’d bought the ticket and won the car – a useful asset to a man living in a caravan. The cameras rolled. Bill played along. He bought a new ticket. And checked the numbers. “I just won 250,000,” said Bill. “I am not joking. I just won 250,000. Please don’t film me.”I don’t believe this is happening. I think I will have another heart attack. Oh gosh!”
Where were you when the BBC was on a boat in the English Channel watching migrants trying to stop their rubber dingy from sinking? You might have seen the BBC’s tweet and a short video of its report:
Simon Jones, our man on the scene (in a bigger, dryer boat), talked us through the drama on a “choppy” sea. The migrants were using a plastic container to try to bail out the boat. Faced with people in a “dangerous” situation, what did the man in the bigger, dryer, safer boat do? Yes: he shouted: “Are you ok?” That was after “spotting” (aka looking for and finding) the migrants half an hour earlier, and, presumably, staying close to them.
The BBC’s bloke went full sailing regatta and asked them, “Are you all right?” He then gave them a thumbs up. Not an old Roman Emperor’s signal for them to be spared death at the circus, but an attempt to get some kind of reaction. Jones then asked them where they were from?; “How many people” (on the boat?; under the boat?; fallen from the boat?); and “Where do you want to go?” Not one wag replied ‘Your house” or “Mars”, settling instead on Dover.
Stay tuned for when one boat carrying migrants is capsized by the wash from a TV crew’s launch, and a reporter can lower their voice and talk about a ‘tragedy’.
Donald Trump’s schtick as a US President in the style of The Thick of It is brilliant.
The journalist is played by Axios National Political Correspondent, Jonathan Swan, Jonathan Swan.
Trump: “Here’s one. Well, right here, United States is lowest in numerous categories. We’re lower than the world.”
Swan: “Lower than the world?”
Trump: “Lower than Europe.”
Swan: “In what? In what?”
Swan: “Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the US is really bad. Much worse than Germany, South Korea, et cetera.”
Trump: “You can’t – you can’t do that.”
Swan: “Why can’t I do that?”
Trump: “You have to go by, you have to go by – look. Here is the United States – you have to go by the cases. The cases of death.”
Swan: “Why not as a proportion of population?”
Trump: “What it says is when you have somebody, where there’s a case, the people that live from those cases.”
Swan: “Sure. It’s surely a relevant statistic to say if the US has X population and X percentage of death of that population, opposed to some-”
Trump: “No, because you have to go by the cases.”
Swan: “In South Korea, for example – 51 million population, 300 deaths. It’s like, it’s crazy compared to other countries.”
Trump: “You don’t know that. You don’t know that.”
Swan: “I do. You think they’re faking their statistics? South Korea?”
Trump: “Ahhhhh, I won’t get into that, because I have a very good relationship with the country. But you don’t know that. They have spikes.”
Swan: “Germany, low 9000s?”
Trump: “Here’s one right here, United States. The number of cases – have a look. We’re last. Meaning we’re first.”
Mr Trump was brandishing another chart at this point.
Swan: “Last? I don’t know what we’re first in.”
Trump: “Take a look, it’s cases. And we have cases because of the testing.”
Swan: “I mean, a thousand Americans are dying a day. But I understand, on cases, it’s different.”
Trump: “No but you’re not reporting it correctly, Jonathan.”
Swan: “I think I am.”
One day after Martin Luther King Junior was murdered, Jane Elliott, a teacher in Riceville, Iowa, wanted to illustrate the perils of prejudice to her class. On April 5, 1968, Jane split here class of third-graders into colour lines. Children were split into two group: the blue-eyed versus the brown-eyed. One day the brown-eyed children got special privileges; the next day it was the turn of the blue-eyed children.
Wind the clock on and Jane Elliott is talking with Jimmy Fallon, the curretn Tonight Show hots. “I didn’t know how this exercise would work,” says Elliott. “If I had known how it would work, I probably wouldn’t have done it. If I had known that, after I did that exercise, I lost all my friends, no teacher would speak to me where they could be seen speaking to me, because it wasn’t good politics to be seen talking to the town’s only ‘N-word lover.'”
You can see the class in the 1970 television documentary The Eye of the Storm:
via Boing Boing
Maria and Lucy Aylmer from Gloucester, UK, are twins. “Good on her,” says the TV host as she appraises Lucy’s fair skin. Non-identical twins are not identical is not a news story. But these two are because when one is whiter skinned and one darker skinned, the world can be different place for each of them.
Last Tuesday’s edition of BBC’s Newsnight kicked off with presenter Emily Maitlis telling viewers: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules, the country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.” Boris Johnson’s aide had broken the rules on lockdown by travelling from London to County Durham, said the impartial BBC. For added oomph, the audience was told that the “public mood” was “one of fury, contempt and anguish”. Cummings had made us “feel like fools”.
And there was more. Maitlis went on: “The prime minister knows all this. But despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it. Tonight we consider what this blind loyalty tells us about the workings of Number 10.”
Problem was that the BBC’s facts were just the BBC’s opinion, which it has sought to clarify in the following statement: “While we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme. As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality.”
Disappointing stuff. Biased news is fake news. Eat yer heart out, Twitter.
Transcript of Newsnight monologue:
“Good evening, Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The country can see that and it’s shocked the Government cannot. The longer minister and the Prime Minister tell us he worked within them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.
“He was the man remember who always got the public mood – who tagged the lazy label of elite on those who disagreed. He should understand that public mood now – one of fury contempt and anguish. He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools and has allowed many more to presume they can now flout them.
“The Prime Minister knows all this but despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.”
Why not let the facts speak and the people, the very ones Newsnight says are angry, make up their own minds? Does the BBC not trust it’s own audience?
Media regulator Ofcom has ruled that London Live TV broke broadcasting rules and posed “significant harm to viewers in London during the pandemic” by broadcasting a long interview with David Icke. Ofcom also issued guidance to ITV over Eamonn Holmes’ comments.
Icke is the know-all who says the world is run by reptiles, the royal family are lizards, there’s a “link between 5G and this health crisis” and that making us take vaccinations to combat the Covid-19 bug is an act of fascism that gives the State the chance to pump us full of microchips. Holmes is the daytime telly presenter who cast doubt on media reports refuting the myth that 5G causes the virus “when they don’t know it’s not true”.
What harm you think these people do is dependent on your view of the people who might hear them speak. Ofcom thinks you’re all fools who hear Icke and Holmes and nod along in agreement. If the former BBC sports reporter and Hereford United FC goalie (Icke) says Her Majesty can lick her own eyeballs, it must be true. If between segments on this season’s must-have toaster and dating apps for dogs Holmes can give us a word to the wise about Covid-19 and telecommunications, we’ll be burning down phone masts quicker than he whip out his diploma on things from the Dublin College of Business Studies.
Don’t censor them. It makes it look as though we take them seriously. We don’t. They are mildly entertaining distractions who you’d take the stairs to avoid meeting in a lift.
“I found this DVD of Seinfeld bloopers at a flea market,” writes Jon Lott. “It had a clearly homemade DVD cover, and an unmarked DVD inside. The video quality is pretty lousy, but most of these bloopers didn’t make into the official Seinfeld DVD blooper reels.”
The Daily Mail is hot on news and more news on the Coronavirus. It’s worried about the wellbeing of the aged (its readers). So the front page carries sage advice: “We CAN show mums out love this Sunday by self-isolating Susanna Reid.” Tough on her. But hard to argue with.
Coronavirus has placed the UK on a war footing – and we all know what war is good for: yep – hours and hours of strident to deadline punditry. Every nodding head who knew all about politics and Brexit is now an authority on the Covid-19 crisis. In this video the Washington Post highlights the bullshit.com-ery of Fox News, whose pundit know one thing and that thing is always true fact. You can wonder, of course, why the WaPo is bothering to tell its readers why something they most likely don’t watch is rubbish – maybe it helps shore up notions of what their news outlet isn’t and maybe is.
The Washington Post says:
For weeks, some of Fox News’s most popular hosts downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, characterizing it as a conspiracy by media organizations and Democrats to undermine President Trump.
Fox News personalities such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham accused the news media of whipping up “mass hysteria” and being “panic pushers.” Fox Business host Trish Regan called the alleged media-Democratic alliance “yet another attempt to impeach the president.”
Back here in the UK, we’d had one thing reaffirmed: people all live in society. Do we try to mitigate the virus or suppression? Do we allow people to think for themselves, pay heed to official information channels and leave the to-deadline media to veer between calling it a hoax and trailing the apocalypse.
Rebecca-Long Bailey, aka Corbyn II, is the Labour MP who saw the electorate send her party to their worst defeat since 1935 and gave leader Jeremy Corbyn 10/10 for his work. But she is not Corbyn II. No siree. She for one will call out anti-semitism when she sees it, whether it be on Press TV, a wall in East London or amongst her ‘friends’. Well, so says (not) Corbyn II as she bids to become the Labour Party’s next leader:
That clip made it on to the Andrew Neil show:
Rebecca Long-Bailey: not a Jew.
Newspapers are full of news that daytime TV presenter Phillip Schofield is gay. “I’m gay, I’m proud, and I love my incredible wife” says the Sun, reflecting how Schofield broke the news to viewers of ITV’s This Morning, the show he presents. As the show broadcast other segments – Bear Can’t Find Toilet In Woods – Is Austerity to Blame?; Kate Price: Why I Sleep On My Back; When Will Ruby Union Come Out? – we read of other celebrities rooting for Schofield. Ant and Dec sent their “huge respect and admiration”. David Walliams dreams of living in a world where people can “just be who they are”. Dermot O’Leary says Schofield has “the heart of a lion”.
What of Mrs Schofield, you wonder, good old Phil’s wife of over 20 years? In the Telegraph, Sara Wilson notes: “It may be a weight off his shoulders but it will go straight on to the shoulders of his wife.” “You doubt everything you’ve ever believed in your life,” says one woman to the BBC. She found out her husband was gay six years ago.
Said no-one: Maybe one day other TV presenters will be brave enough to come out as straight.
In 1988, Central TV hired former England footballer Jimmy Greaves to front a chatshow. The intro was interesting:
Jimmy featured “surprise guests” and a weekly progress report from Frank Bruno’s training camp. In February 1989, Bruno challenged Mike Tyson for the undisputed world heavyweight title. Bruno lost in three rounds. Jimmy lasted not much longer.
Hold your ire about what the Royals cost, and know that the BBC have been forced by law to hand one its presenters, Samira Ahmed, £700,000 in backpay in a discrimination equal pay case.
Ahmed (female; £440 per episode) claimed she was underpaid for hosting audience write-in show Newswatch when compared with Jeremy Vine (male; £3,000 per episode)) who earned shedloads more for hosting audience write-in show Points of View. The Beeb said he gets more because he’s more widely known and so gets picked to present a more widely-watched show.
The judgment ruled: “Her work on Newswatch was like Jeremy Vine’s work on Points of View under section 65(1) of the Equality Act 2010… [the BBC] has not shown that the difference in pay was because of a material factor which did not involve subjecting the claimant [Ahmed] to sex discrimination”.
The BBC goes on the record: “We’ll need to consider this judgment carefully. We know tribunals are never a pleasant experience for anyone involved. We want to work together with Samira to move on in a positive way.”
Or to put it another way: the BBC made her sweat, spunked a load of cash on lawyers and then lost. And you, the licence-fee payer, funded it. Now wait for Samira’s predecessor, a man, to ask for his backpay. And the rest of us can wonder why Vine was paid so much.
For the fifth time, the big Hollywood AGM for TV types was hosted by comedian Ricky Gervais. Like all telly, the Golden Globes sticks with the familiar until even the most slack-jawed viewers can stand no more. But Gervais did his best to wake up the telegenic, well-powdered audience by telling them to get a grip and stop harping on about woke stuff.
“You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything,” said Gervais from the podium. “You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. If you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, thank your god, and fuck off.”
Lots of praise all over the web about how great it is that a multi-millionaire entertainer told other multi-millionaire entertainers on a TV show that no-one gives a toss abut their views.
Ricky Gervais Does The Golden Globes Seasons 1-5 is not yet available as a box set.
Prince Andrew has been talking to the BBC about his friendship with the not-in-the-least-bit-murdered-convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York thought it right to tell the BBC Newsnight’s show about how he did absolutely nothing wrong.
The official version of events has it that Epstein killed himself as he awaited sentencing for child-trafficking charges. Epstein, a minted pervert with friends in high places, could take it no more and ended it all. Some allege that he might have been helped along the way. But that, of course, is bunkum.
And if you want more myths, look also at Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre) who claims she was “forced to have sex with the duke three times between 1999 and 2002, in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein.” Andrew says this is untrue. At the time Virginia was under-age according to Florida state’s law. Andrew says he not have sex with that woman.
Also making claims against Andrew is one Johanna Sjoberg, who alleges that the duke touched her breast while they were hanging out at Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. The duke says that too is untrue.
The BBC says its interview with the Prince at Buckingham Palace pulls no punches and leaves “no holds barred”. Really? You might suppose that if something new was revealed in the upcoming interview, the Beeb would have gone big with it. It hasn’t. The show is all. The content is meh. There is no news on the Newsnight scoop.
We might have some questions of our own. Did Andrew know the questions before sitting down with the Beeb’s journalist? Did the Palace’s PR machine not vet the interview for anything that could reflect badly on their precious client? Why the BBC and not another broadcaster? Why now? Why at the Palace and not in the studio?
But let us not be cynical. For those of you not au fait with the story, the BBC presents it thus:
In 2005, the parents of a 14-year-old girl told police in Florida that Epstein had molested their daughter at his Palm Beach home. Prosecutors forged a deal with Epstein in 2008, which saw him avoid federal charges. He instead received an 18-month prison sentence, during which he was able to go on “work release” to his office for 12 hours a day, six days a week. He was released on probation after 13 months.
In 2010, the duke was photographed walking with Epstein in New York’s central park – two years after the financier’s first conviction. Video footage, released by the Mail on Sunday, shows the duke inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion around the same time.
In a statement released by Buckingham Palace in August, the duke said he was “appalled” by the sex abuse claims surrounding his former friend.
The statement added: “His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”
Nothing to see here – well, apart form a Prince engaging in what could be mistaken for a televised PR stunt. Move on but only after you’ve given the late-night show’s audienec figures a boost…
Zammo’s smack addition. Roland’s weight issues. Janet’s acting. Gripper’s audition for work at the tax office. Trisha’s fringe. Children’s telly show Grange Hill never shied from tackling the weighty issues of the day. Now the Daily Star want its return to ‘save Britain’ from knife crime and bullying.
The show’s creator, Phil Redmond, is quoted:
Asked if it would tackle knife attacks, trolling, sex grooming and homophobia, he told the Radio Times: “All of them, plus Extinction Rebellion and the cult of Greta Thunberg. But underscoring them would be the root causes – self-worth, bullying, loneliness, isolation. Now, though, they’d be illustrated through the pressures of social media.”
Sounds like a riot. And if it was on Netflix and came with a free voucher for depop, the cool kids would tune in for sure. Failing that the BBC show that went out with whimper will be back to confront the big issues just as soon as hell freezes over – which it won’t so because it’s burning like the rest of the plant (source: Thurberg. G) .
We love Harry and Maghan, don’t we? You don’t turn out in the wind and rain to wave flags and cheer for just anyone. But the heir’s former spare and his wife have fallen out of love with us. We can’t do right by them. The couple outlined their issues with the plebs in ITV’s Harry and Meghan: An African Journey. This was woe-is-me TV set against the backdrop of Africa, the go-to place for any jobbing celebs in need of a photogenic poverty backdrop.
Sure they arrived in Malawi by private jet, with platoons of staff, wardrobes of the finest schmutter, hand gels and more jewellery than a company of Namibian miners can stuff down his pants, but their location, the poor, dry Africa of Western made-for-TV audiences, is shorthand for “I feel”. If you want to look caring, a saviour in chinos, head to Africa with a film crew and crumble dust in your fingers. You can use your privilege to raise awareness for things most Africans might well care about less than you do (cheap protein; coal-fired power stations; the tabloid press; buying trees to purify private jet travel; editing Vogue; and inequality).
Away from the palaces, jets and celebrity mates, Harry and Meghan are just like the best of us. And if we were even half decent, we should ask Meghan if she is okay. If Meghan were an athlete, no end of BBC pundits and ex-pros would line up to ask her ‘How does it feel?’. But being a Duchess is tougher than running through the rain in Gateshead. And that’s not a snide comment. It’s true. There are less big game royals than there are champion British athletes (but not champion British tennis players, who are positively regal). And at that rarified level, life must be peculiar. Meghan is a new mum and a new wife living in a new country. We can all relate to her in parts. We can sympathise. One writer says Royals’ “freedom of choice about their lives is almost as constrained as a slave’s”.
It’s not them. It’s us. Maybe ITV can help? Maybe between the ads for discount supermarkets and debt, we can get to the heart of why Meghan is “existing not living”. Can posho news anchor Tom Bradby can tap a blue vein for emotion?
No worries. Tom delivered. He lowered his voice like a guest whispering at a Royal wedding (he’s been to many). ‘How do you feel?’ he asked? “Any woman when you’re pregnant you’re vulnerable,” says Meghan. “And thank you for asking, not a lot of people have asked if I’m OK.”
Why not? My hunch is it’s because most of don’t care. We’re not callous, just not bothered by what the nth in line to the throne and his misses get up to unless its gossipy or weird, preferably both. Meghan’s problem with us might be rooted in not who she married but what she married. They’re not the main event. We’d be happy to ignore them and let them get on with things – but what with all the court cases, photoshoots, TV shows and magazine work, they won’t let us…
Mick Jagger interprets the theme from ‘On The Buses’ – by @CuriousUkTelly:
In 1978, James Burke (born 22 December 1936) timed his piece to camera to perfection. The rocket was primed. Burke, presenter on the BBC’s Connections talked the viewers down: